Richmond Diary



The Start of 2019

Posted by on Mar 3, 2019 in Richmond Diary | 1 comment

The Start of 2019

The Terracotta Warriors and Weta Workshop Visits We had three days visiting Wellington city in January, with the aim to have a look through the Weta Workshop (of Lord Of The Rings fame) and to also visit some of the Terracotta Army being displayed at the Museum of New Zealand.  After an early arrival and getting settled into our motel, we caught a bus and headed out to the Weta Workshop complex. To get this far one has to book onto one of the six or so tours, which vary from $28 to $145 for an adult. We chose the more modest Weta Cave Workshop Tour at $65. It was enough for me and it covered much of how they made all the different items for the various films; from monsters, medieval armour, swords and the like, models, and, well, just about anything really. The attention to the detail on any item made was really impressive. Some 48,00 items were made for The Lord of the Rings, 6623 weapons and armour were crafted for The Great Wall film, and I like the comment that the swords made looked real enough but as actors soon got tired if they had to swing the real things around so they made them a lot lighter. Apparently, the Queen’s people heard of this and now if you happen to watch the Queen bestowing a knighthood on someone, it just might be one of those lighter swords made by Weta Workshop! In all it was interesting but just over priced I feel.  The Terracotta Warriors craftsmen could easily get a job at Weta Workshops I’d say. The eight life sized 2300 years old warriors, part of 8000 or so sculptures of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, were on display at the Museum of New Zealand so we went and had a look. Every sculpture was different, perhaps replicating the men in the army? It did make me wonder if each soldier was copied from real life, what happened to the living after? They may have been substitutes instead of being made a sacrifice  but if I was one of them, I’d be a little nervous after my ‘duplicate’ was finished! Also on display were many other items, made of gold, jade and bronze too. The detail on each item was really something special. One really needs to stop awhile, not 2000 odd years but some time to ‘feel’ and look as one watched one of the motionless figures. Well worth seeing and at a modest price too.  We walked through the World War 1, Gallipoli display once more and admired the detailed life looking soldiers and equipment of Peter Jackson’s display.     Lake Rotoiti and Back We had a visitor from London and wished to show her something of our New Zealand way of life regarding our outdoors. We did have a day up to the Mt Arthur Hut and a little beyond, to climb higher than Ben Nevis’ 1345 metres in Scotland so that was a pretty good effort. Later we thought it would be good to experience an overnight stay in a New Zealand mountain hut so off we went. We took it easy going up Lake Rotoiti via the water taxi then we walked over to have...

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November Travels

Posted by on Dec 7, 2018 in Richmond Diary | 0 comments

November Travels

Kaikoura Visit (5th – 9th November) Early November we joined our walking group for five days visiting Kaikoura. We headed off through to Pelorus, but stopped for a coffee there, then on to Blenheim and out to Ward Beach for lunch. Before the earthquake of 2016, we had visited and stayed at Ward Beach and watch people launch their boats with the aid of bulldozers. Not now though as the earthquake seemed to have lowered the beach while pushing up other areas. It was hard to remember what it was like but I didn’t see any bulldozers on the beach this time. After lunch we had a short walk along the beach to the south. The earthquake of November 2016 certainly changed a lot of landscape on the way to Kaikoura.  My car gps gadget didn’t have any speed limits noted on this section of the road as there were a number of hold ups, but not for long. The earthquake destruction of this highway and railway was massive but the recently re-opened road (and railway later) still had road working machines and people galore, in action at various places along the route.  Shipping containers lined some sections of the road for the protection from falling rocks but generally, the road was pretty good.  Some parts of this coast was raised more than six metres and a drop of more than two metres in others. Some land was shifted horizontally as much as twelve metres along one fault and vertically as much along another. Nearby Cape Campbell is now 350mm closer to the North Island while back near home, Nelson slipped 50mm South East!  This doesn’t sound much – unless you are standing on the actual spot.  We stopped at Ohau which had some major road works done and still underway. Before the earthquake, one could walk a track beside the stream to a waterfall with a pool at its base in which young seals frolicked around while waiting for their mothers to return. Now it appears that the young seals wait out among the rocks along the sea shore at Ohau. A new car park and view point  had been formed from which it seemed as if we could see hundreds of seals about the rocks. All shapes and sizes and thinking that if each seal ate a number of fish each day, there must be a lot of fish out in the deeper water. I wondered that if we can take fish to eat, why not seals? It might even things up a little from the fish point of view?  At Kaikoura the next day Shirl & I walked along the Peninsular Walk, with views looking down on the shoreline. We had visited Kaikoura in 2002 and 2013 but it was hard to tell of the changes to the beaches after the 2016 – 7.8 (Richter Scale) earthquake but noticeable was the amount of exposed white rocks which I guess had been pushed up by the earthquake. We passed a song thrush bursting with song and further along, a heron, some yellowhammers and a goldfinch were feeding on the grass seed by the edge of the track.  We went down the steps to Whale Bay and over to where there used to be a tern nesting colony...

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I’m Just Wondering – Am I One of the Last New Zealanders?

Posted by on Nov 4, 2018 in Richmond Diary | 2 comments

I’m Just Wondering – Am I One of the Last New Zealanders?

I suppose that it’s since the election that has brought it to the fore plus all this Kiwi stuff,  but thinking back over the years, it seems to me that we are going backwards. Oh, for sure there are many that are sitting pretty but it appears to be at the expense of others and the majority at that. We used to have a democracy but  that’s now long gone.  Years ago there were many who protested against apartheid but now they think that’s okay here now? Going back many more years, they said that with progress, we would be working four day weeks but now for a household, it’s the norm for two adults to work full-time five days a week, sometimes even more and they are scratching to save. In those older days, it was just one person who earned enough to support a family – nothing like today.   A forty hour week was the law, except it wasn’t quite in 1962 (when working on an orchard Mapua, Nelson. It was 44hrs there, even though the law said it was 40 hours everywhere else). Maybe they just took a while to catch up with the rest of the country? We were told that computers would cut costs and save a lot of work so why have costs risen and the hours of work?  Why is it that indigenous races seem to think that they are the only ones to have an attachment to nature and the wild lands?  I can recall, thinking, soon after leaving school, that all of New Zealand should be a National Park! My theory was that instead of us trying to protect wild places from speculators and the like, have them spending time trying to withdraw their properties from the National Park. It is interesting to note that in the UK some of their national parks are indeed similar to this.  Why do I have an affinity with the natural world? Is it the freedom? The space? Once you get away from the huts of course – and it’s not raining! Just who can ‘own’ a mountain? Or a river? Or a lake? Will these  people soon claim ownership of clouds, sunshine or the raindrops? Perhaps I shouldn’t mention that? But then if they claim to own a river, what if it floods? Are the ‘owners’ liable for any damage done?  I like meeting people who have a real feeling for the wild places. I was going to write ‘mountains’ but that’s about all that’s left these days. Those mountains are what one could call reality compared with out overly regulated living world. Some might say the concrete jungle is reality but that is an insult to me.   Every year Parliament makes new laws. Just how many laws are there? One can hardly walk into town without breaking some law on the way. Is that good?  Newspapers are mostly foreign owned and who seem to be more centred in closing down local papers, selling any assets and creaming the profits overseas. Proper local NEWS papers they used to be. The same goes for many other businesses like banks, power companies and internet providers. I can’t figure out how so called intelligent people can believe this foreign ownership is beneficial to New...

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Out and About in September

Posted by on Oct 13, 2018 in Richmond Diary | 0 comments

Out and About in September

Around Mt Robert   Nelson Lakes National Park    With our walking group we started out along Paddy’s Track heading up towards the Bushline Hut arriving just before 11am. We had stopped for morning tea high up, on a rock outcrop and just about out of the native bush. The light was a little different somehow and very still. The cloud reflections on the lake were quite something. The open ridge heading up towards that last steep climb before reaching the hut is one of my favourite spots. After a brief spell at the hut, it sits right on the bush edge at 1290m asl, with a great views towards the North and East, we continued on up to the main ridge over patches of snow to reach the  Relax Shelter for lunch.  After that it was along the Mt Robert Ridge downwards to the bush edge but no old little hut there. Taken away, gone and a pity as quite often it was a good sheltered place to don wet weather gear or a windproof coat or jacket.  Down the zig zag track or Pinch Gut as they call it, to the car park and then home.  Waimea River Stopbank  Walk  It’s better to do this by bike I think. However, we walked from the Brightwater end to the Appleby Bridge and Highway and back and it sure seemed to be longer going back! The best part is the fishing ponds by the river and they hold trout too but they were built especially for children.  The local Fish & Game stock the ponds with trout and then run special children fishing days.  The ponds looked a lot different from when a friend and I had helped with some planting way back in 2011. I forget the species planted but they were around the edges and in shallow water. The ponds have been extended too and walking around the edges, we watched a number of trout swimming around. The pond water was remarkably clear, no doubt fed and filtered from the Waimea River running nearby. We had lunch here under the watchful eyes of a pair of kingfishers.  A Little Bit of Estuary Walking    We started off with a walk around Dominion Flats Reserve where a lot of native planting is going on. Then we went down to the end of a side road, parked, and walked along a track to the Waimea Estuary, passing some small ponds on the way. A pair of Canada geese, mallard ducks, a shag and some pukeko were going about their business.  Along a little further until we could see a strange shape lying on it’s side by the mudflat.  It was the remains or leftovers, of a submarine project that never got finished. It is now a bare steel reinforcing rods object, the shape of a cigar and it looked to be almost ready for its coating of plaster cement. About twenty odd years ago, a chap, Peter Mackey, had this idea of a ferro-cement submarine and he made good progress over two years however, due to thieves stealing his tools and other gear – twice, he gave up. Nearby is a dilapidated but photogenic hut which he had used for the project. I think the hut is worth preserving! ...

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August Wanderings

Posted by on Sep 16, 2018 in Richmond Diary | 0 comments

August Wanderings

The Moon Eclipse.   I’ve seen the odd one during my life time but this one was the best.  It was sort of creepy though especially after watching it for awhile.  One can easily understand how earlier folk got all superstitious about eclipses.  Luckily, the clouds kept away.  The shadow of Earth seemed to take a long time to pass over the moon and then suddenly the moon was almost covered and I was still fiddling with my camera!  Anyway, it was worth getting up during the night to watch the rare event.    Conservation Work? I’ve worked up the gully for 13 mornings during August (which mean anything from 4 to 6 hours each day) and most days with Kevin too. This year we have planted just over 1000 plants which is the highest number for any year.  Now how about some of those carbon credits for all this work? When one thinks of all the conservation work of planting in our area alone being completed over the years, surely this must mean something in the way of helping with carbon credits, even if to offset excesses in other areas? If not, is the whole thing just political mumbo-jumbo? Another reason to tax people more?  We don’t even get any discount with our local body taxes! And these are set to sky rocket to pay for behind closed door deals. The countries overall public service, both national and local,  is something from the ‘good ‘ole’ days’ it seems.     Those Old Slides Over the years, I’ve taken many photo slides. Remember those Kodachrome slides? I’ve taken hundreds and hundreds of them. I’ve had some scanned and after hearing that our local library has a new film scanner, I thought it should be worth while checking it out. It was and after three visits, I still have some more to do. Still, it’s a start and now the sorting of dates, place names and people’s names. Fortunately, I have in the past kept a number of diaries and these are a big help. A number of these slides are quite historic too like photos of the flying boats of TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Ltd) the early days of Air New Zealand, at their base in Auckland as are a number of photos of gravel (shingle) roads, old roadside buildings, since disappeared,  and the old way of loading cars onto the inter-island ferries by slings instead of the drive on like today.     The Marble Quarry.   In August we visited Kairuru Farm way up on Takaka Hill. Kairuru Farm has quite a lot of local history. It is of 4000 acres (1618.75 ha) and has been in the same family for three generations. We were with our walking group and after a run down on where to go and such, we were soon walking down an air strip to the old marble quarry. Between 1919 and 1921 about 5000 tons of this marble was quarried and shipped to Wellington for the building of the Parliament Buildings. During the 1970’s more marble was taken out for parts of the new additions to the Parliament Buildings, the Beehive.  Bellamy’s kitchen pastry slab is made from Kairuru marble, and weighs nearly half a ton. Some of the marble was used to build...

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